A Floristic Description of a Neotropical Coastal Savanna in Belize

Farruggia, Frank T. and Stevens, M.H.H. and Vincent, Michael A. (2008) A Floristic Description of a Neotropical Coastal Savanna in Belize. Caribbean Journal of Science, 44 (1). pp. 53-69. ISSN 0008-6452

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    The diverse graminoid-dominated savannas of Central America remain poorly described. The flora and environment of a hyperseasonal coastal savanna near Sapodilla Lagoon, Stann Creek District, Belize were examined. Percent cover and frequency using plots and line transects were used to assess the community structure. We used non-metric multidimensional scaling and correlation to describe communitylevel variation and its environmental correlates. The flora consisted of 193 angiosperms, 2 gymnosperms, and 6 pteridophytes, and was dominated by graminoids. Species with the highest importance values were Mesosetum filifolium, Paspalum pulchellum, Rhynchospora plumosa, and Rhynchospora barbata. Woody species were scattered in dense clusters throughout the savanna, and were divided into a tall tree layer, dominated by Pinus caribaea, and a tree-palm-shrub layer, dominated by Acoelorraphe wrightii and Byrsonima crassifolia. Several large Acoelorraphe wrightii-dominated vernal pools were scattered about the landscape. Variation in species composition within the savanna correlated strongly with particular species (Acoelorraphe wrightii and Paspalum pulchellum), topography, cation exchange capacity, and copper concentration. Quantitative comparisons with another savanna studied in Belize show distinct differences in flora, structure, and dominance in spite of previously being classified as similar.

    Item Type: Peer-reviewed Journal Article
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      Publisher: University of Puerto Rico
      Keywords: Acoelorraphe wrightii; Belize; hyperseasonal savanna; flora; Mesosetum filifolium; non-metric multidimensional scaling; Paspalum pulchellum
      Subjects: (C) Ecosystems > (CC) Terrestrial > (CCB) Savanna
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
      Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2010 14:27
      Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:28
      URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/1095

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